This workshop introduces participants to the value of speculative futures in planning for climate change. So often when we learn about the effects of climate change, we think “what can I really do?” or “where do I start?” Studies show that creating more personal links to information and predictions for future conditions is critical in addressing this issue. When people see what change means for their lives, families and communities, they’re more motivated to act.
This workshop will take people through a sequence of speculative futures to anticipate the impacts of climate change in coming decades and imagine alternative approaches to what our future lives could and should be. The process enables us to visualise what future scenarios might look, feel, sound and taste like to humans on the ground. The resulting speculations help identify gaps in knowledge and research, helpful technological innovations yet to be developed, and systems designs that could avert prospective traumas and conflict.
This approach has powerful value. With the massive global changes taking place — from rising global temperatures to increasing water insecurity to digital privacy concerns — the past is not an adequate template for where development needs to go. Rather than looking strictly to previous experience, taking dreams and desires more seriously as inspiration is key to envisioning alternatives of possibility that can negotiate our increasingly uncertain world.
About the Artist
Johanna Hoffman is a designer and artist working at the juncture of design, fiction and futures. Johanna believes that deeper understanding of climate issues provides the spark we need to act on climate change. To that end, she creates interactive public art and digital installations that translate hard to grasp climate facts into personal, multi-sensory experiences. Her work sparks the imagination, motivates folks to adapt to climate change, and connects people to the tools they need to transform that motivation into action.
Johanna has nearly two decades of experience in community design, civic art, planning, and climate change adaptation. She has worked with a range of motivated institutions and organizations, from Louisiana State University and UC Santa Cruz, to the San Francisco United School District and University of Hawaii. She has lectured and exhibited her work at MIT, RISD, UC Berkeley, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and more.
Image Credit: “Wakanda street scene from Black Panther, 2018”